Tips for Hosting a Better-For-You Happy Hour

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond.

Oh, happy hour. It’s no doubt one of my favorite times of day. But, if you rewind to my post-college days, too much merriment and overindulging at happy hour caused me to gain 20+ pounds. Enjoying cheesy nachos and way too much beer after work, more than a little too often, forced me to buy a whole new wardrobe. True story!

i love cocktails

Nowadays, happy hour is a lot more tame and a whole lot healthier for me. Instead of waking up the next day feeling miserable and disappointed in myself, I wake up feeling ready to carpe diem. If you want your next happy hour get-together to be a healthier one, check out these 4 tips below!

Serve some healthy snacks

Once I have a couple of drinks in me, I become a serious snack monster, especially when it comes to salty fare. You too? Instead of reaching for high-calorie foods, like nachos and pizza, serve up some healthy (and salty!) snacks. Some of my favorites: Blue Diamond Almonds in a variety of flavors (their Bold product line is the bomb), popcorn, edamame with sea salt, and Nut-Thins with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.

Downsize your dishes

When it comes to snacking at happy hour, it’s all about portion size for me. I know once I get going, it’s sometimes hard to stop. Instead of mindlessly munching away, I serve my snacks with portion-friendly dishes, like ramekins and small plates, for instant portion control. Using a plate to serve myself is also a great visual aid to how much I am eating. Especially at social events like happy hour, it’s easy for me to lose track of small bites here and there, so my plate system really seems to work. Plus, I can always go back for more food if I am still hungry.

happy hour plate

Make ”˜em mini

I love serving crowd-favorite appetizers at happy hour, like pizza, burgers, and mozzarella sticks, but, of course, these high-calorie snacks are not always friendly on the waistline. Instead of denying myself or my guests of these delicious eats, I make them mini by serving smaller portions of them. For example, instead of burgers, I’ll serve sliders and instead of huge slices of pizza, I’ll cut them into 2-inch squares or make mini pizzas. That way, we can enjoy a little bit of everything and not overdo it.

 

Keep mixers light

I used to sip cocktails full of fruit juices or premade mixes during happy hour, so if I drank 2-3 drinks in one night, I was adding nearly 900 calories to my daily diet””and, boy, did those calories add up! Nowadays, I typically keep juice light by adding “just a splash” and look for ways to incorporate fresh herbs and other healthy ingredients into my cocktails. I also love to combine flavored vodka with soda water and a small splash of fruit juice, which gives my drink lots of flavor without too many extra calories.

Question of the Day

What are your tips and tricks for having a healthier happy hour?

38 Comments

  1. Sticking to one glass of wine and sharing an app has always helped me keep my happy hour under control, but makes me feel as though I am still enjoying myself. Also, I love that picture of you – stunning!!

  2. Love these tips! I used to drink only water or diet soda at happy hour and never eat. It wasn’t much fun (although it was very cheap). Finding ways to enjoy without over-indulging makes the experience that much better!

  3. healthier apps for sure – there are so many to choose from and blue diamond has the BEST flavored almonds!! i LOVE their honey roasted vanilla – i posted an overnight oats recipe with them just today!! #greatmindsthinkalike 🙂

  4. If in out or at a happy hour, I will order a side salad to help tame my hunger and even stash a few pre portioned or single serving snacks in my purse like a granola bar or almonds. It’s pretty common to find an apple in my purse too.

  5. I love serving fruit and cheese, hold the crackers! I also will go for a drink with seltzer and a splash of soda, gin and diet tonic is great for summer too!

  6. Use veggies as a substitute for crackers, so you can still enjoy all of the dips. Mini plates are helpful, as well as offering sparkling water to drink in addition to alcoholic beverages. Happy hour doesn’t have to be unhealthy, that’s for sure. 🙂

  7. When I host my friends for drinks there’s usually only…drinks. haha! I should probably get some food in there for them, huh? 😛 These are great ideas!

  8. Yeah…I’ve definitely so been there with the one drink leads to four and then you’re chowing down on a block of cheese thang. I agree with others who’ve said to eat something a few hours earlier – that definitely does help, although I usually eat some of the food anyway!

  9. I hydrate well during the day and set a 2 drink max for myself. My go to drinks are grey goose and soda with a TON of limes (like 6 🙂 or a grey goose and soda with a splash of pineapple juice, and I always have a glass of water between drinks to stay hydrated and full. I try to stick with appies that aren’t fried and substitute chips/crackers with veggies because once I start drinking, I CANNOT stop eating 🙂

  10. I love all things mini-the mini apps are cute and you get to indulge without going crazy! I usually try to order a healthier appetizer to share or just have a couple of drinks at happy hour before heading home to make a healthy dinner.

  11. My tip is that it’s called Happy HOUR… not Happy 7 Hours. It helps me enormously to distinguish between a social evening and getting $hitfaced. That sort of event has a different name 😉

  12. so totally not relevant to the happy hour… but it is to the blue diamond sponsoring… Have you tried the cherry pie almonds?? A-MaZ-InG!!!! I have only seen them at Walgreens so far and it is probably better for me, I love them! Perfect for my insane sweet tooth!!

    So Beware… Once you try em, there is no going back!!

  13. I try and separate my eating/drinking at happy hours. So if I have a drink in hand, I’m not snacking. If I have water/no drink, then I can have a snack…tends to help me keep balanced and slow down both drinking and eating over the night.

  14. Having around healthy apps! Especially veggies, but with homemade paleo-style dipping sauces. Also, using fresh juice from a juicer for drinks. It actually makes it kind of a fun party activity too! Having the juicer out with lots of lemons, limes, and other fruits to add to drinks! Yum! 🙂

  15. I don’t know about this whole “sticking with one drink” thing you people speak of, but maybe I’ll give it a try next time. Lol.

    However, I definitely agree with mixing flavored vodkas with soda water for fewer calories. I also snack on meats, cheeses and nuts. Those seem to make me feel fuller, faster and for me, feeling full = sleepy and that sends me right home!

  16. I always get water and try to share the apps.
    Also because of you I bought those amazing almonds. The bold ones are so addicting! So thank you…I think, LOL!

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